Press Conference Notes – Friday

Again from a source in Tanzania – I have copied them straight over and will tidy up ASAP.

Spokesmen today Philip Aspinall (PA) and Drexel Gomez (DG).
Jonathan Jennings (JJ) briefed about this afternoon.

The Archbishop paid tribute to Tanzania this afternoon at the State House, accompanied by the AB of Tanzania to meet the President of Tanzania. Report will appear on the ACNS website.

PA – We spent the morning considering the primates responses to Primates reactions to TEC’s response to WR. It has not reached definite conclusions yet. We moved from listening to discussion, exchange of views and debate. There are areas of concern and tension. It would be wrong to give the impression that it is all smooth sailing. There are real tensions to work through,

The second major thing was to receive the report from the Covenant design group. The Joint Standing Committee considered the report of the Covenant design group and informs the Primates Meeting that it wishes to commend the report of the CDG for further study and reflection in the Communion which includes a Draft Covenant. Amendments have been suggested by the CDG and the Primates. The Primates have asked the ABC to prepare a letter to give to the Provinces. The Primates noted the need for translation.

Initial responses from around the Communion over the next 12 months with a view to a revised version of the covenant going to the Lambeth Conference. It is expected that Lambeth will revise it further and it be adopted following it. The Primates believe they have an obligation to release the covenant to the Bishops of the Communion electronically and then release it on Monday publicly.

Third task to consider report from Panel of Reference. Peter Carnley is with us. Difficulties – the sheer effort required to establish the facts in the case when large volumes of material are produced. Second, legal actions are under way in some cases. Thirdly the human problems of getting timely responses from people who are distant from each other. Blunt question was asked whether the outcomes proportionate to effort expended. No definitive answer. Pointed out that there has to be a will for reconciliation in these circumstances for the work to be effective. How should the church response to public criticism of reports of the work of the panel. These reports can tend to undermine confidence. The ABC will take these questions up with members of the panel and other advisers.

The Listening Process – Canon Philip Groves joined the primates to report on his work since Dromantine. Also done theoretical work on the listening processes. There is an increasing awareness. For the listening process to be effective there needs to be established safe ground for homosexual people to share their experiences. That has not always been possible. Canon Groves outlined preliminary approach being considered for the Lambeth conference. He is working on developing high quality materials, on experience, science, the legal and cultural contexts, reflection on bible and theology, develop skills in listening.

AB Drexel Gomez. – The Covenant I was appointed by the ABC to serve as the chair of the CDG. First meeting in Nassau. Able to prepare a report and produce a draft covenant. The overall purpose of the draft covenant to provide the Anglican Communion for mutual accountability and holding one another together. When it is approved we will have a means of holding each other in check and dealing with difficult situations that may arise. The AC has no central authority. We have no means of holding each other in check. We want to establish this. Not possible to discuss this till Monday evening when is publicly released. We have a produced a statement that has merit and power for the Anglican Communion, it is not one size fits all. It is not designed for all Christian denominations. It is a statement of classical Anglicanism. Both the joint Standing Committee were surprised at the progress we were able to make over 4 days and we were able to produce a full report and a full draft. Both groups gave us reason to believe that the overall proposals will be well received.


Q – 7 primates calling for Episcopal Church to repent. How can the Primates come to agreement on a covenant when they are clearly in broken communion with the Episcopal Church.
DG – That difficulty is more perceived than real. Each primate will have the opportunity to study it. It has nothing to do with impaired or broken communion.

Q – Did you have Eucharist today?
A -Yes

Q – How many did not have communion at Dromantine.
DG – Three groups of provinces – those that have made no formal statement with ref to the EC’s action. The largest group. Second group – in impaired communion. No longer business as usual. The relationship between province and TEC will be dealt with as need arises. In the past automatic sharing of ministries. Now no longer automatic. My province in impaired communion, Third group received most attention in last three years. The primates of those in broken communion have not received communion.

Q -Virtue – Statement posted on the Nigerian province website. We are not allowed to talk to them. They can leap over the formal boundaries.
A РAspinall РThis is news to me. I am not aware of this till now. The primates agreed that we would nominate a person to brief the media. The primates are free to engage in their discussions without being influenced externally. Following the communiqu̩ people are free to speak. I am not sure about the implications of this statement being posted.

Q – Kennedy – What are the implications of the fact that that these conservative primates did not take communion.
A – Aspinall – Expression of the fact that the relationships of communion have been fractured by the actions of the Episcopal Church. This is occupying a large part of our time. This is an expression of the pain.

Q – Can you help us understand how many in each group.
A – DG – I do not have the numbers. 6 in second, 12 in the first, In the third about 9. Aspinall agrees.

Q – What was discussed between president of Tanzania and ABC?
A – JJ – Tanzania had been a symbol of hope for him as a young person.

Programme altered a couple of times today
Bible Study on David and Goliath
2.15pm-4pm on Covenant.
Resumed for evening prayer.

Evening Prayer. Commemorated the memory of Janani Luwum. Orombi told the history and story. AB York read two prayers. Commemorated on front.

Archbishop of Canterbury’s passport handed over – assumed

Q – Barnes – do you have any idea of what is going on upstairs? Were Akinola and Orombi among those absent from communion?
A – Aspinall – They are in broken communion so I would not be surprised if that was the case.

Q – Bob Williams – The Presiding Bishop has continued to honour the agreement with her fellow primates not to discuss till the proceedings are over. She continues to listen carefully to the concerns of her fellow primates. Did the GS walk out or not attend?
A – Jim Rosenthal – No one walked out of the chapel.

Tomorrow – Theological Education – include proposal for a worldwide study of hermeneutics.

Q – Does the Covenant deal with homosexuality.
A – DG – It provides a framework – affirmation of frameworks.

4 Comments on “Press Conference Notes – Friday

  1. This count provided by Aspinall adds up to 27, not 35! Does that mean 27 of 35 did not show for Eucharist. If so, that is very big news.

  2. “This count provided by Aspinall adds up to 27, not 35! Does that mean 27 of 35 did not show for Eucharist. If so, that is very big news.”

    Someone has counted primatial attendence in reverse. From Eiscopal News Service, ENS: Feb 16.

    Seven ‘Global South’ Primates refuse to share Holy Communion

    By Matthew Davies
    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Seven “Global South” archbishops refused to receive Holy Communion with their fellow Primates February 16, alleging that they were “unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding.”
    In a similar action, as many as 19 Primates refused to attend Holy Communion at their February 2005 meeting in Northern Ireland because of the presence of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of Canada, according to reports.

    The recent decision came during the second day of the Primates’ Meeting near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and was published in a letter posted on the Nigerian Anglican Church’s website, despite the Primates agreeing February 15 that they would not disclose information about the meeting’s proceedings until its conclusion.

    The Primates were Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria, John Chew of Southeast Asia, Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Henry Orombi of Uganda, Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, and Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda…”

  3. Rob,
    So I can add 7 plus 27 is 34. So what does that mean about the math presented in the interview? That 12 (first) + 6 (second) + 9 (third) took Eucharist? I don’t think so. Because the 9 in broken communion attending certaintly wouldn’t have if there were actually in broken communion. And the 9 plus the 7 in the press release is 16 in broken communion. I think that is too high based on Dromantine (does anyone have the count from Ireland?).

    So my question still stands. Did 27 refuse the communions (by not attending the service or not taking communion)?

    So then, there is the minor detail of those who did not come to the table at all — the seven mentioned in the Nigerian press release — and those who may have attended the service, but refused to go forward for the communions. That is almost if not quite the same statement of brokenness.

    So if 34 less 7 is 12 + 6 + 9, then of those which would include at least 4 and up to 9 that are in officially broken communion, who likely would not take the communions even if they attended.

    Ether way, the notes are too sketchy, and there is some math to sort out here when the video of the press conference becomes available. I am very interested to see the actual video with my own eyes and ears.

    OK so this is reading tea leaves. But at the moment it is the only game in town since there will be no official statement until Monday.

    In the meantime I guess prayer is the default position.


  4. TEC seems to be being progressively exonorated for their failures to conform to Christian standards, or to repent of those failures.. Is that because the Primates are being persuaded to accept inaction “today” (via discipline) by the promise of greater consensus on action “tomorrow” (via the Covenant – which doesn’t seem to have suffered the liberal “once over” yet) ?

    The holding out of a consensus way forward may seem attractive to Anglicans, who prefer to find ways to maximise communion, but it could easily just be another heirarchical manouvre to delay and dilute opposition to the liberal agenda! The Queen’s saying from Alice in Wonderland was, I think, “jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today!”

    OR “Orthodoxy yesterday and Orthodoxy tomorrow, but NEVER Orthodoxy today”…

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